The Native Foreigner

My mom recently told me that my little sister came home from school one day crying. She wanted to move back to Asia.

I don’t live in the same country as my parents and little sister – I’m in Canada for university. They’re in the US (for now, anyway).

My sister was born in the US (the same city she lives in right now) – she was there for all of 6 months before we were transferred to Japan. She, like my brother and I, is bi-ethnic (Caucasian mother, Asian father). She has been raised entirely in Asia (for 14 years) up until last Summer when my family was transferred back to the US.

She is a US-citizen, yet feels like a complete foreigner even at an international school. Her best friends refer to her as ‘the Asian’ and pull at their eyes – not to poke fun at her, more so as terms of endearment. She does not like it. At all.

As I Skype-d with her one evening I tried to tell her that it really isn’t a bad thing to be called out like that, that her friends weren’t doing it to hurt her feelings, that I miss living in Asia just as she does, and that in time she will come to love living in the US, just as she had in every country she’s lived in so far.

Then I introduced her to the term Third Culture Kid. She had no idea what that was, but I know that in time she will come to understand what all TCKs share – a sense of belonging in the fact that we don’t belong anywhere, but everywhere at the same time.


About tckindalife

A TCKid trying to make it through repatriation in Canada
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2 Responses to The Native Foreigner

  1. Alaine says:

    I told my sister (she’s currently in 7th grade) who lives in Singapore with my parents about third culture kids. My family came and watched my Chameleon project last summer in DC – which is about the experiences of third culture kids. When my sister went back to school, their teacher had them fill out a form about third culture kids. My sister called me and asked if we were third culture kids, I told her yes. My experience for current TCKs as opposed to what we are (ATCK) need to just absorb their experiences as a big learning experience. We can nudge and help them through the more difficult processes of grieving of loss, culture shock, and adjustment.

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